As lopsided and unfortunate as the year 2020 has been already at this point, the outcome of the Falcons-Saints matchup this past Sunday may not come as a surprise to most fans. Coming off a much needed bye week that allowed a banged up Atlanta Falcons team to properly heal, their outing against rival New Orleans was one to quickly forget. They held a 9-3 lead late in the second quarter but the 52-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo to give Atlanta that lead was the last score of the day for Atlanta.
It’s time to feature a few takeaways from the 24-9 loss to New Orleans in Week 10.
I must reiterate the fact that the Falcons were coming off a bye week, which means they had extra time to prep, even if it means in the form virtual meetings/film observation. However, as the game progressed, it became more and more obvious that the coaching staff was unprepared on both sides of the ball. The frequent blitzing by the Saints defense bottled the Falcons offense to the tune of eight sacks and 4.2 yards per play. You often wondered if the adjustment would come on offense to offset the blitzing with shorter routes and a variety of audibles. Nope. Same game plan all game long, same result.
On defense, the constant ingredient of blitzing for the Falcons defense, which was an important element for the defense in recent weeks, was pretty non-existent. It came in spurts and instead of applying the pressure on Taysom Hill, who was making his first career start, the Falcons decided to sit back and allow Hill to feel comfortable and catch rhythm. The schematics on both sides of the ball were lethargic for a team that had an extra week to prepare.
Solid special teams
It’s already determined that the Falcons have a considerable amount of talent on their roster. But in this particular game, the best players on the field for the Falcons may have been their kicker and their rookie punter. Which is saying a lot.
Kicker Younghoe Koo was 3-for-3 on the day in field goals, which includes the 52-yarder. As the only player on produce on the scoreboard, Koo was able to keep the team afloat as long as he could. For punter Sterling Hofrichter, the rookie out of Syracuse registered 250 total punt yards on the day, averaging 50 yards per punt. It was the third game of the year in which Hofrichter totaled 180 yards or more in punting. It’s not often that the special teams is able shine brightly in most games but on Sunday, these guys earned it. If we have to keep highlighting them, that means the season is continuing to not go well, however.
It has been a busy season so far for third-year receiver Calvin Ridley. He missed the last outing for the Falcons against Denver a couple of weeks ago due to a foot injury. There was speculation about his appearance against the Saints but the as the days waned, Ridley became more and more likelier to play.
His day against the Saints was a solid one. Ridley was able to post 90 receiving yards on the day on five catches. That is his fifth game this season of 90 or more receiving yards, which by comparison to last season, Ridley was only able to post three such games. While star receiver Julio Jones has been banged up a bit this season, Ridley’s impressive season has been somewhat of a saving grace for the Falcons offense, one the Falcons are going to need more of on Sunday if Julio can’t go.